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Alpha King Pale Ale - Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub

Alpha King Pale AleAlpha King Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,246 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4246
Reviews: 1646
rAvg: 4.27
pDev: 9.13%

Brewed by:
Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub visit their website
Indiana, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  6.66% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
3 Floyd’s flagship beer, Alpha King is a big American pale ale that pours a deep amber with a creamy head. This ale is brewed with Centennial, Cascade, and Warrior hops giving it an intense citrus aroma and a crisp hoppy finish.

68 IBU

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-23-2000)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Ratings: 4,246 | Reviews: 1,646 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Talisker


4.22/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle received from grynder33 in a great trade.

Pours an almost-clear copperish orange - no visible yeast, despite label's claim of bottle-conditioning. Beautifully fresh aroma of beautiful grapefruit hops - very little else comes through in the nose. Taste is beautifully integrated - certainly an American hops showcase. There's just enough malt to take this into IPA territory, but the dry, just slightly thin texture might just keep it at the boundary of an APA. Finishes clean, sweet tangerine lingering with a faint, pleasant edge of bitterness.

This beer lives up to the hype. I would be happy to have this one as a regular drinker.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2007 04:20:08 | More by Talisker
Photo of afinepilsner


4.6/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz brown bottle

Alpha King Pale Ale was an orange-amber in color with a nice off-white head. The head had good retention and left quite a bit lacing behind. The aroma was all about the hops, fresh and fruity citrus hops just begging to be tasted. The taste was also very hoppy and delicious with a good malt base to keep some balance. The bitterness was not as intense as you would expect with all of the hops. The finish was dry and bitter. It was medium bodied with good carbonation. Drinkability was excellent. It's one of the best pale ales that I've tried and I highly recommend it.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2007 02:03:45 | More by afinepilsner
Photo of ArrogantB


4.55/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have been waiting to try this for a while. I broke down and ordered a sixer from Archer Liquors in Chicago. Very cool looking bottle with the king himself featured on the front. The beer poured a dark orange with a very good head. The smell was so amazing. fresh hops permeated my nose and reminded me of grass, herbs, and flowers. The taste matched up very nicely with hops really shining through. Wow, believe the hype! I think this was better than dreadnaught. This probably ties with Deschutes Hop Trip for my favorite Pale Ale. Outstanding.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2007 15:51:22 | More by ArrogantB
Photo of prototypic


4.33/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy, burnt red color with a thick two finger head. Very good retention and lacing.

Smell: Initial smells are big piney hops and a rush of citrus (mostly grapefruit). There's a bit of a grassy smell underneath. Hops are the main feature though. It's pretty close to smelling like an IPA.

Taste: The grapefruit taste is the first thing that hits me. It's followed by a strong, bitter hop bite. There's a hint of malt in there. But, not enough to balance out the strong hops here. In my opinion, that's a good thing for this particular beer.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Light to medium bodied. Very drinkable. I could drink a number of these with ease. Overall, it's a great beer. It actually seems more like an IPA than a typical APA. Either way, it's a fantastic beer. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2007 01:57:14 | More by prototypic
Photo of becktone


4.97/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Eye: Color of this brew is amber-orange. Looks a bit like apple juice or cider. The head is creamy in appearance and is off white. Formation and retention of the head could be better. Lacing appears to be good. Larger head would definitely be an improvement.

Nose: Great aroma to this beer. Very full and potent hop aroma. Cascade hops give this brew a citrus aroma. Under the hops there is a strong sweet malt aroma providing a backbone for the brew. Potent aroma of this brew literally makes my mouth water.

Tongue: Great balance of hops and malt sweetness in this brew. Right upfront there is a sweet malt flavor, followed by the citrus character of the cascade hops. This brew finishes with hop flavor. It is quite unique, most unlike any APA I've had before.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability: Silky smooth on the palate this beer easily flows down the throat. Alpha King is medium bodied and feels great on the palate. This beer is something I would most definitely buy again, that is if I can ever find it again. One of the best and most unique APAs I've ever had.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2007 23:15:18 | More by becktone
Photo of Mebuzzard


4.13/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copper, hazy, amberish body. Head is huge, good retention.
Smell erupts with pine and hints of citrus. Smells like an IPA. Some toffee and malt can be detected as well.
Taste is a very crisp pine/citrus PA. The IPA smell is counteracted by the presence of malt and some rich yeast flavors just under the surface. Very delicate.
Feels a bit thin for an IPA, which is why this is a PA. Good drinking. Wish I had another (cool label)

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2007 22:17:08 | More by Mebuzzard
Photo of vwcraig


4.05/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from an AleSmith pint glass. Poured a dark amberish color with a thick and rocky tan head. Looked fairly translucent with some suspended particles. Great smells of citrus and grapefruit. Light pineyness as well. Smells refreshing and very clean. Bready malt smell thrown in too. Bittering hop up front along with a caramel and bready taste. This is an excellent drinker. Mouthfeel on lighter side and bubbly. Head retained until the end of the glass. Finished with just enough bitterness. Drinkability is great with this one and I only wish I could find it local for $9 a sixer like some people.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2007 17:31:19 | More by vwcraig
Photo of montageman


4.5/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My parents recently took a road trip to Chicago. Living in Michigan, we (for some odd reason) do not have access to Three Floyds, so I had my parents pick up a couple sixers for me - Alpha King and Pride & Joy Mild. What a treat these are! Ok, on to the review...

Pours a cloudy deep amber into a pint glass. Big 2 finger head that is quite luxurious and creamy. The head has staying power, too and leaves some insane lacing. The nose is heavy on pine, some grapefruit, and slight flowery note. Very balanced flavor - hops up front/malt on the back & some definite citrus in between; really nice. Mouthfeel is nearly perfect for this style - well carbonated, refreshing and a little on a creamy side. This is an easy drinkin' all night beer - I could easily have another and another 5 after that. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2007 04:43:19 | More by montageman
Photo of cproioi


2.88/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The body is an almost caramel color, or reddish brown, with a white head that dissipates to create a cover just slightly over the top of the beer leaving decent lacing. The aroma is full of citrus hops and a rather large malt sweetness which is basically a non-descript fruity flavor. The taste follows the aroma nicely. Big citrus hops flavor with a fruity malt backbone. The beer had a medium body that gives way to a long dry finish. Very nice beer to drink could be a little thinner for the style giving it a more refreshing hot day beer character.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2007 16:12:58 | More by cproioi
Photo of BMoney575


4.25/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled on 3-23-07

Pours a neat orange/amber with a foamy off-white head and about a billion tiny yeast floaties.

Smell is all intense citrus hops, with a more subtle fruity sweetness.

Taste is very good, an noticeable maltiness makes this beer a lot more balanced and not nearly as bitter as the smell would lead you to believe. The malt/hop combo create a sweet, fruity flavor that can really best be described as watermelon. This sweetness is kept in check by an undeniable hoppiness at the end.

Mouthfeel is also very good, thick and syrupy, you can almost feel the hops as much as you can taste them.

Drinkability is good, although the sweetness and bitterness build after awhile.

Overall a very tasty and well-balanced brew. I wish I could buy it here in Michigan. Its not intensely bitter, but the hops are very prominent. This beer definately blurs the line between a pale ale and an IPA.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2007 01:29:49 | More by BMoney575
Photo of MmmIPA


3.88/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very murky amber colored body with a white head that stood for a while.There were flooties in the beer,im assuming they where yeast.Citrusy hop smell,Hops,this is a hoppy tasting beer but there is somthing blocking the hops it seems.Like there shielded.Slick mouthful and very easy going down.Good beer but lacing somthing.I thought it would have been more but it just lacks something.Good though.I will have again.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2007 13:54:14 | More by MmmIPA
Photo of akorsak


4.22/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A pint glass served at the Brewhouse Grille in Camp Hill, PA. The drinkability comments are the same as the original bottle review.

A: The pale ale is a deep amber, almost red color with a small ring of head and no indication of lacing.

S: The aroma is strong on hops, primarily a medicinal spicy element. The hops are bitter but not overwhelming.

T: The ale has a hop flavor that provides a strong citrus kick and are balanced nicely against the grainy malt body. The hops are grapefruity with just a hint of medicinal tartness.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is dominated by hops but not to the extreme of a dreadnaught.

Drinkability: The ale is quite drinkable and, in my mind, a restrained version of Dreadnaught.

Serving type: on-tap

03-18-2007 18:33:13 | More by akorsak
Photo of murrayswine


4.2/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Alpha King pours a pumpkin orange hue, with a slight unfiltered fog. The smell is a slight bubbly bite and piny hops. Hints of lemon. The taste is light with an acidic bite. I'm going to let it warm up.

Upon warming up, the taste is much hoppier and with a bit of toffee, and unsalted peanuts. The alcohol is not even there, which makes it real smooth. I am really enjoying the mouthfeel, with a rich back end creaminess.
A fantastically hopped American Pale Ale, with the smooth mouthfeel to make it sessionable.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2007 01:49:22 | More by murrayswine
Photo of Alkey


4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured a dark hazy amber color with very little head and just a few specks of lace. Smells mostly of citrusy hops. The taste is a blast of fresh bitter hops up front then is followed by a bit of yeast and malts towards the end. The feel is light to medium and has a little stickiness to it. This brew is pretty easy to drink and I'm glad I tried it but I'm not much of a fan of the extra yeast they put in the bottle.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2007 19:21:17 | More by Alkey
Photo of klewis


4.15/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a slightly hazy golden with a modest foamy head. Moderate lacing.

S: Big hoppy smell with aromas of pine, grapefruit, and bubblegum.

T: Like the smell, except with a strong vegetal taste.

M: Quite a bit of heft for a 6% ABV pale ale. Light carbonation allows for a smooth texture. Crisp, bitter finish.

D: Tasty and easy drinking. I think that i prefer this on draft, but either way, this makes a great session brew.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2007 01:54:52 | More by klewis
Photo of kohoutek


4.3/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a beautiful orange amber color with sticky, fluffy persistent white head. Clinging lace and the perfect amount of haze hint at the raw character of this brew. Micro-bubbles swell and boil throughout the body of this brew. It's so nice to see a lack of the ubiquitous "glug, glug, glug" bubble chains that mark filtered and fined beer. Gas forming beer nuclei anyone?

The hops just pour out of the glass. Definitely led by the grassy smell of dry hops. Columbus stands out. Grass, geranium, armpit of s(he) who dines frequently on light colored curries, grapefruit, fresh Muscat grape, apricot and lemongrass. Some catty biscuit. characteristics. A tad bit too grassy and biting for me.

The hops present in the nose are not expressed as completely in the mouth. Lots of luscious flavors though: grapefruit rind, blood orange, the bark of devil's claw, geranium, tangerine, perfumed desert cacti blossoms. The color of this beer suggests that there is some malt character. It is tough to find buried beneath the mound of juicy hops. Some medium weight crystal malt adds to the caramel complexity and the biscuit malt is present. Something about the harshness of the biscuit/malt profile detracts from this overall experience. Tannic/astringent, maybe?

The mouth feel is very nice. The bitterness is present and very apparent in the finish. The burps associated with this beer are hop heaven. A nice touch of residual sweetness melds well with the hop flavors and the bitterness.

In all honesty, I drank two bottles of this beer during the course of the review because it is just that good.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2007 21:03:55 | More by kohoutek
Photo of jmalex


3.73/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Perhaps I did things in reverse order when I tried Dreadnaught a few months back, but it and Alpha King were meant to be 2 different beers entirely. Now the latter has its turn.

APPEARANCE: Poured a somewhat hazy reddish amber with a very underwhelming 1/4 inch head. It dropped almost immediately and is now just a thin collar with a few bubbly patches on top.

SMELL: Now there's a hop profile that I'm familiar with. A huge citrusy aroma is very upfront, not unlike many Three Floyds offerings. Sweet hop estery smells fill your nostrils no matter which way you try to smell it. An almost resiny sweetness plays alongside with a caramely malt presence barely detectable.

TASTE: Starts out quite tame and nicely balanced. The citrusy and floral hop flavors are delicious. A strange sugary sweetness is also present but not in the same high intensity as I've tasted in some other pales. The finish is where the hops start to bust through, showing their true colors (and flavors) and really give this beer its bite.

MOUTHFEEL: Disappointing. Perhaps I have a bad bottle, but the carbonation was extremely low (which could explain the lack of head). The body is nice, being slightly fuller than I anticipated.

DRINKABILITY: On one hand, this doesn't seem like such an extreme beer, and one would think that it could certainly be drank as a session beer because of a decent degree of balance it achieves. On the other hand, this is Three Floyds and nothing isn't extreme. The hops are still there in full force. So the drinkability comes out somewhere in the middle which isn't a bad score at all.

I really hope this bottle is an outlier and that a typical bottle of this isn't as flat as mine, because it brings down an otherwise tasty beer. I would seek this one out again. All beers deserve a second chance.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2007 00:39:04 | More by jmalex
Photo of david131


4.6/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is not an APA, it is an IPA. But whatever.

A- A very golden/ copper liquid with a nice white, foamy lacy head. A little bit of cloudiness to it. No lacing to speak of.

S- Some nice soft piney hops. Some grapefruit and other citrus fruit as well. Not the most fragrant beer.

T- Astounding. There is something very special to this. One of the first thing I notice is how "clean" this tastes. I love it. Along with the pine and citrus is something else. I had to think about it for awhile, but once it came to me it made it that much more enjoyable. That something else was a great watermelon flavor. I loved how unique this was.

M- Great. The level of carbonation was perfect for the mouth but may have been what hindered the aroma of this beer.

D- Love it. My only qualm was the lack of quaffability of it. I really hate to buy into hype. But damn it, this is good stuff. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2007 05:46:57 | More by david131
Photo of instrumentality


4.05/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is the last of a 6-pack I purchased somewhere between 6 and 9 months ago, but the first bottle I've actually reviewed. I remember thinking this beer was good but highly overrated initially, but maybe I'll appreciate it more now.

Glassware: Stone Imperial Russian Stout tulip glass.

A: A bit of foam oozed out of my bottle when I first opened it, so I quickly poured the contents into my glass before I lost anything significant. The off-white head began at about a finger and a half width, then quickly settled to a swirly lace encircled by a thin off-white halo. Beneath this is a translucent copper liquid full of tiny bubbles.

S: Even with a slightly congested nose, the aroma from this beer is fantastic: bitter pine and grapefruit mixed with sweet tangerine and slightly burnt toffee. I'm immediately reminded of 3F Dreadnaught, which also smelled amazing.

T: One sip and all of the odors I encountered hit my palate at once: pine, grapefruit, tangerine, and burnt toffee. Unlike in other beers where the flavors seem to evolve from one to the next from the time the liquid hits my palate to the time it escapes down my throat, the balance of flavors here is incredibly even throughout. I'm not sure if the beer's changed or if I have in the several months since I had the rest of this batch, but whatever it is, the change is for the better.

Over time, the bitter grapefruit flavor begins to become slightly more prevalent, but it's never overbearing.

M: Upon entry, there's a burn of alcohol and grapefruit. This is followed by...an absence of the burn of alcohol and grapefruit. Not much else going on here...and it makes what's left feel almost watery. Slight bitter aftertaste.

D: This is beer is very easy to drink. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale has been my go-to beer for yaers, but this one is less bitter and has a much more complex and soothing flavor. Too bad I'll probably never see this beer on tap in California, let alone matching the overwhelming availability of SNPA.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2007 04:14:55 | More by instrumentality
Photo of TheBeerBaron14


4.65/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I found this beer while in Illinois (PLEASE BRING YOUR BEER TO MISSOURI!!!). This might be the finest drinking pale ale I have consumed that was not called an APA or IPA.

A-a nice copper hazey color to it.

S-Like walking through a forest of Hops, very citrusy and piney.

T-It has an nice hop characteristic on the front of the tonuge, but finishes with a smooth malty flaor.

M-Nice and light, yet full.(huh?)

D-The 6% aspect says "I should only have 2-3" the taste says "I should have 6-7"

Good Job Three Floyds!!!! Now please bring it to MIssouri so I can help out the environment by not driving to Illinois to purchase this beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2007 23:50:21 | More by TheBeerBaron14
Photo of Nipitato


3.83/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a six pack at Chuck's Wine & Liquors in Chagrin Falls, OH.

A: Dark russet copper. Thin off white head. Brilliant clarity.

S: Strong intense grassy hoppy aroma, which is also slightly citrusy. Sweet malty background notes also come through.

T: Strong hoppy grapefruit flavor with a lingering aftertaste. Sweet malt is detectable towards the back end. Not caramel if anything a little toasty. Bitterness is also clearly present and prominent.

MF: Medium. Soapy, nearly cloying mouthfeel. Overall a smooth finish without astringency.

D: A muscular in your face hoppy pale ale. If I didn't know what I was drinking I would say it was an IPA. That being said it grew on me. I'll get it again when I am back in Ohio - too bad 3F does not get out to Massachusetts.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2007 23:04:01 | More by Nipitato
Photo of JDK


4.7/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to the Anderson's in Lima, OH for getting this back in stock for me!
Poured a cloudy amber color with a 1 finger head that slowly disappeared.
Nice lacing that clung to the sides for quite a while
Sweet hoppy smell with light citrus
Medium mouthfeel, not overly carbonated and has a nice lingering grapefruit aftertaste.
Very good ale overall, definately one of my favorites!

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2007 01:36:30 | More by JDK
Photo of drinknewbelgium


4.47/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

pours dark with a great head that lasts with the entire beer smells citrus and hops tasts citrusy with strong hop content with the perfect balance feels full and goes done smooth could drink these all night

exceptional beer drink one if you can get your hands on it

Serving type: on-tap

02-25-2007 23:47:53 | More by drinknewbelgium
Photo of TheBungyo


4.43/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to czoch for the trade!

This pours a nice burgundy caramel color. Head is minimal and I wish it was more assertive. nose is candied grapefruit and caramel and it smells great. Almost too hoppy for a pale but dear lord I love it.

Taste starts off with hop bitterness, rind of orange, lemon, caramel, and finishes with grapefruit. This would definitely be a respected IPA. I'm conflicted here. I know a pale shouldn't be this hoppy but it tastes so damn good. Honestly I don't buy many pales becauseI just don't find them interesting. This on the other hand is wonderful, the malt is upfront but the hops still conquer them. I really am enjoying this beer.

Bottom line, this pale rocks if you love hops. I think it's more of an IPA than a pale but I love it in spite of that. I know for a fact I would buy this alll the time if I could.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2007 11:42:53 | More by TheBungyo
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

3.88/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy burnt amber, with no real large head. What was there faded quickly but left a film of gooey, drippy lace skimming on the top, lots of eddys and swirls rounding about on it. Deep dripping lace down the glass, and a bit of a bubble stream coming up from the bottom. Smell was big and strong. Big citrus players here, lots of orange and grapefruit. Very sweet smell, like orange sherbert or candy. Very nice and plesing to the nose, smells like it will be a winner. Taste struck me as odd, after all the sugary itrus in the smell, none really came through in the taste. There was a strong bitter hop presence, providing lots of IBU's however it was more of a pine,resiney type of hops, rather then the sweet candy orange that came through at first. Nice and crisp, clean, very dry and long lingering finish, leaving a taste of burntor raosted pine for several minutes after a sip. Goes down very smooth and clean, not overally carbonated, and not syrupy either. A nice IPA, and a good call from Three Floyds.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2007 17:40:47 | More by mikesgroove
Alpha King Pale Ale from Three Floyds Brewing Co. & Brewpub
95 out of 100 based on 4,246 ratings.